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Supervisor of Elections Office employees fed more than 3,400 ballots through scanning machines during the recount.
Sarasota Friday, Mar. 11, 2011 6 years ago

Caragiulo claims election after recount

by: Robin Roy City Editor

After recounting more than 3,400 votes cast in the District 2 City Commission race, Paul Caragiulo came out victorious over incumbent Commission Dick Clapp.

But Clapp is planning to ask for a manual ballot inspection next week.

Caragiulo held a slim 14-vote lead, which mandated a machine recount. After tallying the votes again, the margin did not change.

Caragiulo had 1,726 votes to Clapp’s 1,712.

The City Commission is scheduled to certify the election results Monday. Clapp said he will vote to certify the results but will ask an independent body, perhaps the League of Women Voters, to conduct the ballot inspection.

“There have been issues with (ballot) scanners,” he said.

Clapp cited the audit of the 2009 City Commission race between Caragiulo, Suzanne Atwell and Terry Turner.

A random sample of ballots from one precinct were counted and it was discovered that one of Atwell’s votes went to Caragiulo.

In a ballot inspection, a Supervisor of Elections Office employee holds up each ballot, one-by-one, and the independent body tallies the vote total by hand.

Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent said she would most likely assign her lowest-paid worker to the task at $19 per hour. She estimated it would take five to six hours to complete the inspection.

Clapp said he would pay the cost himself.

If the ballot inspection discovers enough votes to change the outcome of the election, Clapp would then have to contest the election in court to get the certified results overturned.

Caragiulo said he wasn’t concerned about a ballot inspection.

“He’s entitled to that,” he said. “But I’m certain the results will stay the same.”

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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